CROUCH: I knocked out a fellow pro… and it still leaves me cold

PETER CROUCH: I knocked out a fellow pro… and it still leaves me cold. I can understand exactly how Son Heung-min would have felt

  • Son Heung-min was understandably devastated when he injured Andre Gomes
  • The Portuguese star was left with an ankle dislocation and a lower leg fracture 
  • Peter Crouch was once involved in a nasty collision, which caused a knock-out 
  • Going for a bicycle kick, Crouch misjudged and hit Matt Taylor square in the face 

Sportsmail columnist Peter Crouch

It was 10 minutes into a run-of-the-mill, end of season game when it happened. Stoke were playing West Ham and a cross had just been whipped into the penalty area.

I always backed myself to get the perfect timing when attempting a bicycle kick but this particular day, in May 2013, it went horribly wrong. Rather than connecting with the ball, I connected with Matt Taylor and caught him flush in the face.

Matt was out cold before he landed on the ground. He lay there for a couple of seconds before the physios arrived on the scene but, for a few seconds that seemed like an eternity, he never gave a flicker of coming around. 

It was one of the scariest incidents I experienced on a pitch.

Fortunately, Matt regained consciousness. Other concussion, a cut to his face and a black eye, he was fine and I was able to see him in the dressing room afterwards but the worry that I had inflicted serious damage to a fellow professional stayed with me all through the game.

Watching the dreadful event at Goodison Park last week, when Andre Gomes suffered a season-ending injury, it made me think of some the incidents in which I have been involved and I can understand exactly how Son Heung-min would have felt.

Panic quickly spread as Matt Taylor lay motionless on the pitch, knocked out cold from the hit

We all know Son was upset. He reacted with class when scoring for Tottenham in midweek and everybody knows he did not go out to shatter Gomes’s ankle. 

Let’s be honest, though: the man who deserves most sympathy is the one who went through an operation and is now crutches.

You cannot underestimate the effect an incident of that nature will have on a squad and it will be interesting to see how Everton react this weekend, when they face Southampton at St Mary’s. Episodes such as that are not easily cleared from the mind.

The worst incident I ever saw happened in a training session. It was May 2016, at Stoke’s Clayton Woods base. 

A tackle from our defender, Dionatan Teixeira, shattered Stephen Ireland’s leg; I will not go into the details other than to say Phil Bardsley, who was closest to it, was almost in tears.

Son Heung-min was late into the challenge and caused Andre Gomes to go to ground at speed

Distress was immediately spread on the faces of both players after the incident turned serious

Haunting images showed Gomes screaming in pain, with his right foot set at a disturbing angle

Dionatan ended up requiring counselling. We consoled him in the same way Son was consoled by his own players – and Everton’s – last Sunday. 

No right-minded footballer would ever go out of their way to inflict such pain and that’s why Seamus Coleman went into see Son after the game.

The impact for Stephen, however, was huge. He was never the same player after that and we can only hope that the implications for Gomes are not as severe. It was encouraging, then, to hear Marco Silva, Everton’s head coach, raise the prospect of him playing again this season.

I appreciate this might not be an uplifting column but sometimes it is unavoidable to talk about something of this nature. 

Dreadful accidents can be part and parcel of football, but nobody wants to experience them

Dreadful accidents happen such as this at some point every season and they will continue to do so in the future. These are our occupational hazards.

Only in the rarest occasion, however, can you attach blame. Son did not go out to ruin Gomes’s season. We all know his character and we have all sung his praises over the last few years – but none of that will matter to him. Nothing will have stopped him replaying the incident in his mind.

My collision with Matt Taylor was a fraction of what happened at Goodison Park but it still leaves me cold. Believe me, it is your worst nightmare if you are responsible for inflicting major damage to another footballer. 

Son would do anything to go back in time – so too would Andre Gomes.

Liverpool can make Manchester City wobble 

Premier League’s new rivalry resumes on Sunday: Liverpool versus Manchester City has some echoes of Liverpool versus Chelsea from my playing days — but they are not on the pitch.

Animosity between the fans and sniping between the managers has hallmarks of how it was between Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho from 2004 to 2007, but the difference for Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola is what happens when the action begins.

Great rivals Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola will do battle in the crunch match at Anfield

We were used to cagey affairs and often games would be decided by a single goal. But I don’t expect to see anything other than entertainment at Anfield – and, in all honesty, I don’t see anything other than Liverpool winning.

It remains to be seen whether Ederson is fit enough to be in goal for City, but I look at the issues they have at centre-back and wonder how Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones will contain Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

Norwich showed that if you apply enough pressure to City, they will wobble. Liverpool have not been at their absolute peak lately, but they are relentless, and should they open the advantage up to nine points, it will be a long, long way back for the champions.

Yes, it is the middle of November and there will be 26 games still to go, but I just don’t see Liverpool losing more than twice before the end of the campaign. They have a golden opportunity to put City under intolerable pressure.

Liverpool’s prolific front three will be able to test a makeshift Manchester City defence

Made up for Maddison 

I was delighted to see James Maddison picked for England. Regular readers will know how highly I regard him as a player and I don’t think it would have been right had he paid the penalty for one error of judgement.

During my England career, there wasn’t one member of the squad who hadn’t made a daft decision at some point. If decisions had been made about us for what had happened off the pitch, there might have been problems actually picking a squad!

James Maddison has earned his way into the England fold with remarkable Leicester showings

My wish now is that Maddison gets some minutes against Kosovo or Montenegro now. We have done enough talking about him in the squad, now is the moment to see what he can do as a fully-fledged international player. He certainly has the quality.

Leicester are flying and he is full of confidence. It’s just a shame that he doesn’t have Jamie Vardy in the squad with him. Nothing will change my mind that the Premier League’s leading scorer retired from England too early.

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